Platte River Point Water Access

Graveled area along river edge
Popular end point for floats down the Platte River.

NPS credit

Quick Facts

Beach/Water Access, Boat Ramp, Canoe/Kayak/Small Boat Launch, Entrance Passes for Sale, Parking - Auto, Parking - Boat Trailer, Picnic Table, Restroom, Water - Drinking/Potable, Wheelchair Accessible

This beautiful area where the Platte River flows into Lake Michigan is a busy place during the hot summer days. It is the terminus of many tubing, canoeing, or kayaking trips. The river is shallow and flows rapidly at this point, which makes it a favorite place for tubing, and on a breezy day, there will be some interesting wave action when you reach the big lake.

Platte River Point, offers two accesses to water. One, at the end of Lake Michigan Road, is paved for drive-in trailer access; you can put in your fishing boat and head to Lake Michigan. The second access point is used by those floating down the Platte River in kayaks, canoes, and tubes. It lies just short of the river mouth and is adjacent to the Lakeshore's south parking lot behind the restrooms and changing area.

There are two parking areas on the north and south sides of Lake Michigan Road. The south side is equipped with accessible parking, restrooms with running water, accessible dressing rooms, raised charcoal grills, and cell phone coverage. (Water and restrooms may only be available between Memorial Day and Labor Day.) An automated fee station is at the south lot.

The picnic area at Lake Township Park, owned by Benzie County, offers a relaxing way to end your river trip or watch the beach and boating activities. (A township user fee is required.)

Parking lots fill during busy summer months. An alternative launch site is El Dorado Park one half mile east on Lake Michigan Road.

Paddle safe

Before going out for a paddle, check the weather. Have a boating plan and make sure others know it. Always wear safety gear, including personal flotation devices. Buddy up, don't go out alone. Check your boat and make sure it is safe for conditions. And always keep the shoreline in sight.

Clean Your Boat
Please clean, drain, and dry your boat after you leave any body of water, especially Lake Michigan, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. This is especially important for our inland lakes.

For more information on aquatic invasive species and their impacts to lakes, streams, and how we recreate please visit the following websites:

Paddle the Platte

Paddle the Platte
Cooling off with a relaxing float on a tube or raft down the Platte River on a hot summer day is one of the most popular recreational activities in the Lakeshore to beat the heat of summer. The river is shallow and clear, and while it moves along at a good pace, there are no rapids to contend with. You will see a multitude of different wildflowers and birds on your trip, so pay careful attention to the shoreline.

Your float may end where the Platte empties into the Lake Michigan and forms a delightful sandy spit full of frolicking children and beachgoers wading across the river. Outstanding views of Platte Bay and massive Empire Bluffs and Sleeping Bear Dunes in the distance reward those who drift all the way to Lake Michigan. It's a wonderful place to take a quick dip if it's a hot day.
You can either bring your own tube, raft, etc. or you can rent them from local outfitters. If you need to rent during the height of the summer season, you will want to plan ahead and make reservations.

From the Platte River Picnic Area water access, you can float a one-hour loop to just above Loon Lake and then carry your tube for a 10-minute walk back to your car.

If you want the full paddling experience, a 2-and a half-hour plus float will take you all the way from the picnic area water access to Lake Michigan. Put in along the ramp and drift down the pristine river, through Loon Lake (you'll have to paddle across the lake), past the fish weir and El Dorado, through beautiful sand dunes, all the way to the mouth of the Platte River. You will need to shuttle your car to the parking lot at Platte Point at the end of Lake Michigan Road.

You can also put in at the fish weir just below Loon Lake for a 2-hour float to the mouth of the Platte. In this case, you will have to carry your tube about 1/4 mile from the road to the river along a gravel road to the fish weir and shuttle your car to the parking lot at Platte Point at the end of Lake Michigan Road.

Offering a nice, easy, 1-mile float to Lake Michigan, a parking lot, and toilet, El Dorado is another popular put-in for tubers. You will have to shuttle your car to the parking lot at Platte Point at the end of Lake Michigan Road.

During the height of summer, the river is busy. And from late June through August, it can be like bumper boats with all the kayaks, canoes, and tubes going down the lazy river. Pick a warm day in early summer or September, and you'll have it pretty much to yourself. Fall floats on the river can be quite scenic and a great time to see a lot of fish!

Platte River Fishing Weir

Floating down the gentle flowing Platte you will pass through the State of Michigan's fish weir: an obstruction in the river with gates that can be raised and lowered to stop the migrating salmon from going up stream in the fall. The weir is in operation from the middle of August until October. When the salmon are running, the DNR uses the weir to harvest the fish, and their eggs are used at their hatcheries. During these months, you must portage around the weir. The best times to see returning adult salmon in the Platte River are from mid September to late October at the lower weir.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Last updated: May 30, 2024